November 5, 2008
By Katherine Hardman, Pleasanton, TX

Tracy’s fingers were chilled against mine as the trailer jumped up and down
Trundling through fields
Over soft grass I’d always imagined cutting down
The night sky above us quietly turning ink black from red
Stars appearing in the expanse, tiny diamonds surrounded by night
Her grip tightening in mine as we hit more bumps on the field,
Swerving to avoid cows awakened by headlights
The night was quiet but for the engine of the tractor pulling us,
The hay making small crinkling noises beneath us,
The wind whooshing past as we moved
We said nothing,
For we never did
But her hand in mine meant everything,
The harvest moon being lifted by the ink of the night meant everything,
As did the quiet,
And the whooshing,
The cows mooing in disgust as we passed,
The cranky engine of the tractor,
The driver calling out to warn us of another bump,
Tracy would tighten her grip again,
Bite her lip,
Gasp through the thin air as the bundle of hay rid of her for a second,
Lifting her an inch or so as the trailer hit something,
Her green eyes flashing with a dash of panic, just for that moment
I have come to think that I was her constant those days,
And she mine
In so many ways, she was the only thing I had in the world
So that night meant more than the words here can express,
Though it has no significance
My heart turns light as I remember
Her small gasp,
The quietness of her breathing,
And the thin sweater she folded around her shoulders
We were silent,
Watching the yellow moon continue to make its way up through the expanse of ink and stars
It wasn’t a full moon
If it had the moment wouldn’t have been whole in itself
For Tracy and I were far from whole
Anything that was
Would simply have ruined it

The author's comments:
When I was asked to write a poem for my English course, the idea of translating part of a novel I'm writing into poetry came to me, and eventually unfolded before my eyes. The novel is about two girls whose brothers died when they were very young. Since then, they have been plagued by grief that neither of them can understand, and their only solace has been their friendship. Only together can they even attempt to deal with this deep feeling of loss. The poem cannot begin to convey all of their feelings or how strong their friendship is, but in some simple ways I was able to let Clarence’s words flow onto the page as poetry, and that is something that means a lot to me as a writer.

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